Pop Punk Producer Jerry Finn's Studio Gear Goes Up For Sale

Jerry Finn’s legacy lasts in the pop–punk records that glow like a 7–11 at 2 AM. His polished sound and production wisdom defined the sound of pop–punk at the turn of the millennium and helped launch it into the mainstream. Finn became the go–to producer as pop–punk took over the charts with bands like Blink–182 and Sum 41, positioning him to help emo do the same.

He mixed one of the most influential albums of the ‘90s—Green Day’s Dookie—to perfection and crafted the bright, punchy sound that made Blink–182’s albums some of the biggest at the turn of the millennium.

Starting Wednesday, February 1, Reverb and Techno Empire will launch a shop featuring over 200 pieces of Jerry Finn’s recording equipment including pro audio, amps, and effects pedals, many of which were used on some of the most important pop–punk albums of the last two decades.

This giant collection of studio gear gives us a great excuse to talk about a pop–punk innovator whose sudden death from a cerebral hemorrhage in August 2008 brought out as many stories from his sessions with Blink–182 Morrissey as his love of Family Guy and take–out.

The Producer and the Dude

A lifelong resident of Southern California, Finn got his start in the music industry at the Music Grinder recording studio in Hollywood. After working his way up to an assistant engineer position, Finn was taken under the wing of future platinum-selling producer Rob Cavallo. Together, they worked Green Day’s Dookie, with Finn’s final mix lending the album the proudly snotty sound that set the template for pop–punk’s run at the top of the charts.

From there, Finn would take over producer duties for many of the most loved pop–punk bands, including Rancid and Jawbreaker. Finn’s production set a spark under those bands’ hooky songs as he honed the sound that would help his most significant collaborations with Blink–182 break out like wildfire. With Finn’s wisdom and ears, Blink–182’s Enema of the State went triple platinum, making Finn a permanent staple of the band’s studio work.

A collaborator on Blink–182's self–titled albums, producer and mixer Ryan Hewitt describes the elaborate way Finn he set up a house to record the band. “The amp heads were in the control room with us, run through long speaker cables out into the living room of the house to the cabinets. Mics went into preamps that were out in the living room via short, high quality mic cables. Long snakes brought the line level signals into the control room we had set up in the guest wing of the house.”

Blink–182’s drummer Travis Barker has talked a lot about Jerry Finn, in both interviews and his autobiography. Barker describes the producer as both a laid-back pal and a perfectionist who drove him crazy. Finn would take hours to lock in drum sounds and ultimately employed 12 different snare drums while recording Enema of the State.

Always the faithful friend, Finn invited Barker to drum on the Morrissey album he produced in 2004, You Are the Quarry. Barker couldn’t take the gig, but Finn’s production helped Morrissey’s first album in seven years become his highest charting in the United States.

During the 2000s, Finn would go on to produce albums at the intersection of pop–punk and emo including work by Alkaline Trio and AFI’s breakout hit Sing the Sorrow in collaboration with the famed grunge producer Butch Vig. Finn’s career would culminate in 2009 with another critically lauded Morrissey album, Years of Refusal. He would not live to see the album’s release.

A Selected Production Discography of Jerry Finn

  • Green Day: Dookie (1994) [Mixer]
  • Goo Goo Dolls: A Boy Named Goo (1995)
  • Jawbreaker: Dear You (1995) [Mixer]
  • Rancid: ...And Out Come the Wolves (1995)
  • Blink–182: Enema of the State (1999)
  • Sum 41: All Killer No Filler (2001)
  • AFI: Sing the Sorrow (2003)
  • Alkaline Trio: Good Mourning (2003)
  • Morrissey: You Are the Quarry (2004)

In the Studio

In an interview from the September 2001 issue of Bonzai Beat, Finn shows love for recording equipment that captures mid- and high-frequency sounds with precision and nuance. His favorite microphones for recording distorted guitar were Royers, and he raves about Manley for making products that “handle midrange frequencies in a musical way.”

He was a producer of the people, always willing to talk shop with whatever junior-level engineers he took a liking to. To give you an idea of how little pretense he had, he once proclaimed that he would want Jack Black’s novelty prog band Tenacious D to play at his funeral.

Reverb’s and Techno Empire’s store will feature one of Finn’s beloved pieces from Manley that was crucial to his signature guitar sound, his “Enhanced” Pultec EQ. Also appearing are a two pairs of studio monitors - vintage Tannoy SRM-10Bs - that Finn cherished so much that he built a road case to safely take them wherever he was recording.

Ryan Hewitt says that Finn only purchased multiples of a piece of gear if they had consecutive serial numbers. After working with Finn on a Blink–182, Hewitt wanted a Manley Pultec EQ of his own and gave his buddy hell when it arrived from the eBay seller with a serial number directly following the one on Finn’s model.

Some of Finn’s secret weapons are available as well, including the famed Klon Centaur overdrive pedal, his Galaxy Audio Cricket polarity tester, and Mastering Lab Tube Preamps custom made to Finn’s order.

Select Gear Available from Jerry Finn’s Collection

  • Tannoy SRM-10B Monitors
  • Mastering Lab Tube Preamps
  • Manley “Enhanced” Pultec EQ
  • Galaxy Audio Cricket
  • KLON Centaur Overdrive Pedal
  • NTI EQ3 High Definition EQ
  • DIAZ CD100 Custom Tube Amp

Update: February 1, 2017. A previous version of this article stated that Ryan Hewitt was a collaborator of Finn's on multiple Blink–182 albums. Hewitt only worked on the band's self–titled album from 2003.

Jerry Finn photos by David Goggin / Mr. Bonzai ©2003

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